Bystander Rescues Kidnapped 13-Year-Old Girl By Noticing Her 'Help Me!' Note In Abductor's Car
On 21st January 2024
A brave and observant individual played a key role in rescuing a 13-year-old girl who had been abducted, after noticing her hand-written message asking for help.
In a disturbing case from Texas, a man who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a teenager during a cross-country drive from San Antonio to Southern California has admitted to federal kidnapping charges under a plea deal.
This was confirmed by the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Steven Robert Sablan, 62, was responsible for abducting the young girl at gunpoint on July 6, 2023, in San Antonio.
During the drive to Long Beach, California, he engaged in "sexual activity" with her, as stated in the plea agreement, reported by CNN.
Sablan, originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was not a legal guardian or relative of the victim.
He forced her into his car near a bus stop, threatening her with a handgun.
In an FBI agent's affidavit, it's mentioned that the girl revealed her age and talked about having a friend in Australia.
The teen's handwritten note.
Credit: US Department of Justice
Deceptively, Sablan claimed he could take her to a cruise ship.
However, around an hour into the drive, he moved her to the back seat and sexually assaulted her multiple times, despite her pleas to stop, according to the criminal complaint.
During the two-day journey over 1,300 miles from Texas to California, he continued assaulting her, making additional stops to further abuse her, the complaint detailed.
NBC News reported that Sablan had threatened her, saying, "If you don’t get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you."
The nightmare scenario began to change on July 9, 2023, when Sablan stopped at a laundromat in Long Beach to wash clothes, leaving the girl in the car.
The laundromat where Sablan stopped.
She courageously wrote a note reading "Help me!" and displayed it in the car window.
A passerby quickly called 911, leading Long Beach police to the location.
Meanwhile, the girl’s mother had reported her missing and mentioned her daughter's friend "Mickey" in Australia.
She also noted that her daughter had left home without informing her of her whereabouts.
When Long Beach police arrived, they found the teenager, who was visibly upset and distressed.
Upon Sablan’s arrest, authorities discovered a plastic BB handgun, handcuffs, and a knife in his possession.
Under the plea agreement, Sablan is facing at least 20 years in prison, with a potential life sentence.
After his release, he will have to register as a sex offender.
His sentencing is set for October 25.